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Del Posto


Jason Perlow
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It's hit-or-miss. Sometimes I'm there and the bar is packed. Sometimes I'm there and the bar is practically empty. I have no idea if there are any set-asides at all for walk-ins.

(The only time I ever tried to go without a reservation, there was no room for me. But that might just be my own luck.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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if someone is there day in and day out, they might be able to say something like "he's hardly here any more", in comparison to how much he might have been there when it first opened. not that that would suggest anything to me or anyone else who would assume that an owner might be at a new restaurant more at the beginning. i'm not sure anyone on this board could confirm or deny that unless they work there.

and even then i'm not sure they'd be able to confirm or deny that he has "lost interest" in the place. perhaps he's just been spending a lot more time at B&B in vegas. maybe he's spending more time with his family. maybe the plan all along was to have lidia and joe really run the place. who knows. sounds like pointless speculation, unless the source of the gossip has the intials JB and has a last name that rhymes with "itch."

Edited by tommy (log)
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One might inquire as to who you were told by.

One might...

Spill! :raz:

It was a "Mariofile."

Can't give the person's name (I'm sure everyone understands). The person has been quite accurate in the past. Just seeking a second confirmation.

PS - the initials were NOT JB.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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so i made it to del posto for a private party and... was underwhelmed as they say.

both pasta and risotto were not just undercooked, but rather uncooked... the sauces on salad/veggies/veal were absent entirely. dishes did not gel together. but the veal cut was very good and cooked perfectly. the desert was the best thing. i was watching, since i saw the pastry chef posts here. however, some of my friends, who got a diff desert , left it almost untouched (some kind of mini tart with lemon ice-cream and hard meringue on top: crostata di limoni). mine was a soft meringue over ice-cream and a very nice muscat sauce: apricot cassata with almond cake. we were downstairs in the wine cellar, very nice atmosphere. i loved the upstairs too: kinda micro opera house - 2fl balconies over the main dining area is a great idea.

Edited by rumball (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Finally got to Enoteca at Del Posto. While the prix fixe menu ($45, I think) was quite a deal on paper, I was fairly unimpressed with the food, especially its consistency, as well as the service, which ranged from friendly to jaw-droppingly incompetent.

A few items (the veal ravioli with cauliflower, the turkey osso bucco and the calimari) were very good. Most were ordinary. The fish dish we ordered was very fishy tasting (in a bad way) and underseasoned. The steak was adequate, but overcooked and a little dry. Nothing there was awful, but I would have expected more. Our waiter was very nice and quite helpful while he was around. However, we sometimes waited for a quarter of an hour between sightings, and then struggled to understand his heavily accented voice.

Since Mario Batali has such a good record of making delicious, authentic and interesting food at this price range (especially at Lupa), the Enoteca was a major letdown. Also disappointing was some of the staff. While the staff at Lupa and Babbo are not only professional, but really seem to be interested in food, many here were astonishingly incompetent and inexperienced for a Batali venture. The hostesses were essentially college girls who clearly had no previous restaurant experience. The bartender had never even heard of most of the food items on the bar menu, and couldn't pronounce any of the wines that they offered by the glass. He didn't even know which ones were red or white in some cases. He also left the bar unattended for over ten minutes at one point. It was ridiculous.

In summary, I'd say there are dozens of places in NY where you can get better Italian food at this price point, and it's important not to be taken in by the fanciness of the room when you decide whether it's a good deal or not. Even the prixe fixe menu is a poor deal for inconsistent food and crappy service. Instead, I'd recommend Lupa, Piccolo Angolo, Peasant or any of the many other good Italian joints smattered around downtown. As a bonus, you can also avoid the Meatpacking/B&T-Packing District.

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One can disagree with the reviews.

All the reviews in the world aren't going to convince me, based on my own experiences, that the dining room in Del Posto isn't insultingly contrived with food no better than good.

Nor will they convince me that Inoteca, while a decent value, isn't uninspired and fairly lazy, especially when compared to a place like Lupa in its salad days.

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Since Mario Batali has such a good record of making delicious, authentic and interesting food at this price range (especially at Lupa), the Enoteca was a major letdown. 

Very true, but remember MB rarely visits DP anymore.

Prediction - someone will take over this spot in the future and create a real restaurant.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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One can disagree with the reviews.

All the reviews in the world aren't going to convince me, based on my own experiences, that the dining room in Del Posto isn't insultingly contrived with food no better than good.

Nor will they convince me that Inoteca, while a decent value, isn't uninspired and fairly lazy, especially when compared to a place like Lupa in its salad days.

You mean Lupa when Mark Ladner was the chef? Apparently he has forgotten how to cook since his move to Del Posto. And of course Lidia Bastianich, who has been present every time I have been there, must be getting rusty as well.

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Those are just names. The food on the plate isn't anywhere near as good as at Lupa when Ladner was there, or Felidia. And it's different from either place: so lets not pretend that the involvement of people who were good at OTHER things means I HAVE to like this place -- especially when I don't.

And frankly, I have no idea whatsoever whether Lydia has been there the times I've been there or not. Although, if it makes a big difference, then the restaurant is in trouble.

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As a non-new yorker who has never been to Del Posto, I offer up a question...

Is it safe to say that Del Posto is a failure?

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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As a non-new yorker who has never been to Del Posto, I offer up a question...

Is it safe to say that Del Posto is a failure?

Not by any objective definition. It got four stars from Bob Lape in Crain's, three stars from Frank Bruni in the Times, and two stars from the Michelin Guide, so clearly it is not a critical failure.

I just checked on OpenTable, and I could not find an 8:00 p.m. reservation for two on any date during the next week. This suggests that they are filling most of their tables, at least at prime times, so it is probably not an economic failure.

There are also none of the usual signs of a struggling restaurant, such as a major change to the concept, a chef being fired, or prices being lowered dramatically. Actually, the opposite happened. They lured pastry chef Nicole Kaplan away from Eleven Madison Park. And a bargain Sunday-night menu was discontinued, since they had no trouble filling the place at the regular prices.

All that's left is the fact that some people happen to not like it, which you can't calibrate objectively. By all the standards you can measure, Del Posto is not a failure in any sense.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Not sure its fair to say they "lured" Nicole Kaplan from EMP; I think she and EMP agreed to part ways and she was out looking for a job.

As for Del Posto getting the rave reviews, I just don't understand it. I've heard some people who I respect say they've had wonderful meals there. I've heard other people say their meals were a disaster. The latter comports with my own experience, but I assume they get it 'right' at least some of the time, especially for people they know are VIP's.

All I can say is the two times I was there, the servers were shockingly uninformed, the sommelier said she was "just learning" (a direct quote) and recommended a $200+ wine because "I've tried that one and I know its good," and the food at best, forgettable.

How can a place so inconsistent as this get two Michelin stars? I don't know, but I can at least speak for my own experience.

As to why it has no openings on Open Table, part of that is that its in MePa and indeed is a tourist draw. I could name 5 other restaurants in the area that are packed every night and I bet most here wouldn't consider them great restaurants.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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As for Del Posto getting the rave reviews, I just don't understand it.
This is a natural, typical reaction whenever one's experience doesn't jive with what the critics said.

As you implied, critics are usually recognized. Savvy management will ensure that the most polished servers, the most seasoned wine stewards, etc., etc., are assigned to that table.

Of course, the major critics pay many more visits than you & I do. And when they visit, they take larger parties and order from more of the menu. So they have much more to go on before issuing an opinion.

As to why it has no openings on Open Table, part of that is that its in MePa and indeed is a tourist draw.  I could name 5 other restaurants in the area that are packed every night and I bet most here wouldn't consider them great restaurants.

In the first place, I was replying to the question, "Is it safe to say Del Posto is a failure?" The availability of reservations is one way to test that hypothesis. OpenTable doesn't say who is taking the tables, only that they're not available. I wouldn't presume that just because a restaurant I don't like is full, tourists must be taking all the tables.

I can assure you that if you repeat the same exercise I tried — 8:00 p.m. reservation for two people, any day during the next week — the whole Meatpacking District isn't invariably full. To the contrary, a majority of MePa restaurants that are on OpenTable could accommodate you at some point in a one-week window.

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I agree with you Marc, it's a general success. However, it's not a success with the foodies or NY'ers who understand Italian food. I would rank it with Spice Market in its "success mode."

Let's not forget the Times was obilgated to give it at least three stars since it was a Batali place at the time. As for Lape - well, no one is perfect. He also gave Chanterelle four stars a few months earlier than that. And as we know, very few people on this board would come close to agreeing with that.

I enjoy the "New Yorker" food column (Table for Two) and while they don't give stars (thankfully), the review was highly critical. I don't think it received "top" reviews from most other critics.

As for Michelin - it proves the point that it doesn't have a clue what it's doing in NYC - or SF for that matter.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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its still a Batali place.

some people really really love it...and they're not rubes either.

I know for a fact that one three-star Michelin chef's private comment after a meal there was "It was a three star meal, no question." And he wasn't talking about three stars from the Times. Granted, he was probably recognized....

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its still a Batali place.

Only because he's a partner, not because he participates.

Nathan, don't you recall all the press (before it opened) about how this was going to be Batali's flagship and he would spend most of his time there. What happened?

Maybe he doesn't enjoy the food either.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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